Valdosta High alum to prosecute Arbery case

Submitted Photo Joyette Holmes, Cobb County district attorney and Valdosta native, leads prosecution in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. George McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, are charged with murder and aggravated assault in the case. 

VALDOSTA – Cobb County District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes, a Valdosta native, is leading the prosecution in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, according to a statement from her office. 

The district attorney took over the case last week following an appointment by Attorney General Chris Carr, the statement read.

The Associated Press reported Holmes is the third outside prosecutor to handle the Arbery case.

The case sparked national outrage after the 25-year-old died Feb. 23 while jogging in a Brunswick neighborhood.

A delayed arrest resulted in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation charging Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, with aggravated assault and murder on May 7, according to the GBI. 

“Our office will immediately gather all materials related to the investigation thus far and continue to seek additional information to move this case forward,” Holmes said in a statement. “We appreciate the confidence that Attorney General Carr has in our office’s ability to bring to light the justice that this case deserves.”

According to the statement, the district attorney’s office is reviewing the investigative file from the GBI and will present appropriate charges to the Glynn County Grand Jury for indictment.

Gov. Brian Kemp extended a judicial emergency through June 12 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Holmes said she and her team will work “as expeditiously as possible to move the case forward,” the statement read.

The GBI arrested the McMichaels following the release of an online video that showed one black man being approached by two white men and being shot by one of them after a struggle. The AP reported last week Arbery was hit by three shotgun blasts.

“One shot grazed his right wrist, and the other two struck him in the chest. Blood tests for various drugs and alcohol all came back negative,” the AP report read, referring to an autopsy report released by the GBI.

Holmes’ office is dedicated to ensuring Arbery’s family is supported “throughout the process of seeking justice in this case,” according to the statement.

Holmes graduated from Valdosta High School before earning dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia. She received her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in Maryland.

She was sworn in as district attorney of the Cobb Judicial Circuit July 1, 2019, and has been both a prosecutor and defense attorney in Cobb County, according to the statement. 

She served as chief magistrate judge of Cobb County for four years.

“Judge Holmes is a servant leader in her community, and I am very excited to select her as Cobb’s new district attorney," Kemp said after he appointed her. "I know Joyette will put the safety of Cobb families first and always do the right thing — even when no one is watching.”

Holmes is married to Smyrna native Bridges Holmes, and they have two daughters. 

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